Your biggest career decision is who you marry

Sheryl Sandberg, the woman who runs Facebook,  has said that the most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.

I have to agree with this statement. Here’s why:

If you marry someone with a big career and you want to have a big career you have to find that rare mate who can treat you as an equal, even when your career needs to come first. These are very tough marriages to hold together because there is a constant, never-ending re-balancing of priorities and power between spouses.

If you marry a breadwinner who expects their career to come first, then things will probably only work if you can support that. Even if you have a career of your own.  This is the easiest marriage to hold together (if any marriage can be called easy) as long as the man is the breadwinner.

If you marry someone who is terrible at earning money, or someone who is good at earning money but doesn’t want to, then you will have to take responsibility for earning the money.

In each of these cases, your career decisions are largely determined by who you choose as your mate.

If the idea of being in a long-term, committed relationship makes you sick, you should stop reading now, and click over to Beatrice de Guigne’s stunning parody of wedding photography, featuring Barbie and Ken. If you still hold out hope for marriage, here are my five favorite ways to get a spouse:

1. Network.
Getting a spouse is the first big test of your networking abilities. If you’re really well networked, like George Percy, then you can look around at who you know and who your friends know and pick someone.

If you go the networking route, the same rules of networking for a getting a job apply to networking to get a spouse. Which means that the most valuable people in your network are people who you are not that close to because those people will likely know a bunch of people who you don’t already know.

This seems like a good time to tell the story of how my brother met his wife. He came to visit me at college, and it was a weekend when there was a dance. And it turned out that my date was gay, and because I was so stupid about dating I was a) the only person in the school who didn’t know and b) too shy to cancel the date.

I asked my brother to come, to save me, but he needed a date. So I asked a woman in my suite who I had recently gotten to know.

The dance sucked, I couldn’t find my brother, and when I came home, he was making out with the woman in my entrance way. I remember standing there, stunned, and then saying: “What are you guys doing?”

2. Try online dating sites.
That was before dating sites. Today dating sites make things easier, for the lucky 23% of people who can get dating sites to pan out.

Most dating sites specialize. ScientificMatch matches you based on your DNA. Salon is for intellectuals. OK Cupid is more Jewish than JDate. JDate is rife with intellectual snobs and eastern-seaboard snobs who figure they can sort for their demographic by sorting for Jews.

Feeling frustrated and ripped off? Luvia specializes in people who want a better payment fee structure for online dating. Really. The founder of Luvia, Ravi, says: “There’s no monthly fee or any premium services fee. And registration is totally free. Luvia.com is very economical because  we charge based on usage.”

3. Use a headhunter.
When I was thirty and not married and starting to panic, I hired a headhunter.

Here’s why: I was thirty, I had just launched my second startup after exiting the first one, and I was a former professional beach volleyball player. I knew I was a good catch, but I had no time or patience for dating.

The headhunter charged me $10,000 and for that, she taught me how you pick a husband. She told me you only get what you are worth. She told me that I’m an eight so I can get an eight.

Then she told me I could give her three criteria and she’d meet them.

First, I picked good looking, rich, and Jewish. She set me up with the only Jewish Calvin Klein model. I mean, maybe there were two, but it’s hard to believe there are two Jewish men as shallow as this guy was. Really. I think their moms wouldn’t allow it.

So I swapped rich for smart. And I got a screenwriter. Unemployed, of course. After all, I was in LA.

I knew I needed criteria to wipe out the screenwriters. That’s important in LA, because everyone’s a screenwriter. Even the homeless. Actually, especially the homeless.

I spent a lot of time developing a perfect list of three things, and I came up with Jewish, good looking and great at what he does. I thought this last one would be sneaky because you probably are smart and rich if you are great at what you do.

These guys were right up my alley—the type I was used to hanging out with. At work. So I had a hard time keeping dating talk to dating topics and almost all those dates turned into business meetings.

Just when the headhunter was getting frustrated with me, my ex-boyfriend told me he was in LA and asked if I wanted to get together for sex. I said, Okay, if we get married. He said okay. He bought me a ring from the LA County museum, on the way to my apartment.

We had sex. It seemed right because he was good-looking, Jewish, and great at what he did. (He was a video artist. One day I will spew my wide-ranging knowledge of video art on this blog.)

4. Go to therapy.
Hiring the headhunter was like going to therapy. You know, those fairy tales about having three wishes aren’t really about the wishes. They’re about learning what’s important to you. (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a fun, contemporary take on this story.) The fairy tales are about the power of self-knowledge, and how hard it is to come by.

Which is really what dating is all about. You have to give stuff up to get married. Picking a spouse is a lot like picking a location—it’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give up. You have to be really clear on what you are not willing to give up—because you’ll probably be giving up everything else. You have to assume you are. And it’s hard.

Most of adult life is about admitting what you will not be able to have or be able to do. Marriage is no exception. If you can’t accept that, going to therapy can help—you get stuck otherwise. Which wouldn’t be so bad if you don’t want kids. But stalled dating under the tick-tock of a biological clock is no good for anyone.

5. Compromise your career.
It’s true that who you marry is your most important career decision. But it’s also your most important financial decision, your most important parenting decision, and on and on. No one ever says that they knew what they were getting when they picked their spouse. Twenty years down the line, everyone is surprised.

So the choice is impossible to perfect because the information you have about your options is so poor. People change, and people don’t know who they are so they can’t disclose who they are. And life before kids does not resemble life with kids, so how do you even know how the person will react when the kids come?

It’s hubris to say this does not apply to you.

But of all the things that spouses affect, and with all the things you have to compromise in order to hold a marriage together, a career seems like a small price to pay.

People who are married are happier than people who are not. And I think it’s mostly that people are happier when they put the requirements of being in a committed relationship ahead of the other aspects of their life. And a career would be the first thing I’d tell you to give up. You can get a lot more from loving and being loved.

 

Posted in Promoting yourself
104 comments on “Your biggest career decision is who you marry
  1. Karen says:

    Hi Penelope. Celebrating 7 years of marriage today. Was hoping for a little career wisdom and found this post. Kismet.

  2. Karen says:

    Wanted to add that every personal finance expert will tell you “getting divorced” is one of the best things you can do to ruin your finances. So if you work for and maintain a good marriage, it helps your career, your happiness, your finances.

  3. Cristina says:

    I love this post. It seems like a lot of people underestimate how important a choice of spouse is, in all aspects of their lives, not just their love lives.

  4. Kay Lorraine says:

    Everybody thinks it — but you actually said it. Right out loud. Why don’t they teach this stuff in high school? Who you marry is the most important decision in your career as well as in your life.

    This was a GREAT article!

  5. heather says:

    Six months after I realized that I needed a college-educated carpenter to balance me in life I fell in love with one…I met him because he was the drummer in two local bands I enjoyed. It’s 15 years and two kids later.

  6. Mike says:

    There’s a movie in there somewhere.

  7. Marc Roston says:

    ummm…TMI on the brother

  8. karelys says:

    I’ve been thinking lots on the last post about passion and doing what you love.

    I do have a list of stuff I think fits my personality best and it could be called my “dream job/career” but when it comes down to it I want something that will help me finance the personal life I love and that is passable enough to not want to gauge my eyes out every morning when I go to work!

    • Albert Okagbue, CPA says:

      I am familiar with this process. Pick the easiest thing you can turn into a career or business. Pick the one that requires the least start-up capital and training. Focus on it until it’s paying for your life. Paying for your life means $40K a year, as Penelope mentioned in other articles, of course.

  9. CamMi Pham says:

    Penelope, love this post.
    my mom always tell me marriage is a business where you invest your life…the biggest investment you will make. It will affect us in so many way…thanks again for the great post

  10. zan says:

    your mileage may vary and one size does not fit all…those of us who married young and divorced after we learned several truths and made a number of critical self-discoveries have other stories, just as valid and valuable. but i’m always interested in the penelope perspective.

  11. Katie says:

    I loved this. At first, I thought this was an extremely cold and cynical way of looking at marriage…and then at the end, you caught me by surprise by romanticizing the very idea.

    People don’t often spend enough time choosing a spouse. My Mom always said it was the most important decision I’d make in my life and I agree 100%.

  12. Lesa says:

    I feel a lot better about my life choices after reading this post, even though I’ve been divorced twice. Both guys fell into the “terrible at earning money, or who is good at earning money but doesn’t want to” category and both felt threatened/uncomfortable when I had a good job. In both cases, I quit my job in order to make them more comfortable, which really hurt me financially (then and when the inevitable divorce happened). Now, I’m with a great (younger) guy who really doesn’t care what I make — more, less, none and stay home with the kids, he doesn’t care.

    I agree with you that you can get a lot more from loving and being loved than from any career. The trick is finding someone who appreciates you for being you. Find that, and you are set for life, whatever it may hold for you.

  13. GingerR says:

    I don’t know if it works that well for women, but if you’re a guy a good way to find a mate is to go to church. It’s a good reference and there are lots of opportunities to meet people in low-stress situations.

  14. roberta says:

    This is most likely why arranged marriages work so well in other countries. The parents already know what will work and what won’t, hence they save their kids from making huge mistakes….we don’t have that here of course, so we mess up. Sometimes more than once. Sigh……..

    • dhillan says:

      I’m sorry. But i’m going to have to say you have no clue what you’re speaking of. Arranged marriages are a disaster. They’re filled with abuse, sexual dissatisfaction, absolutely no personal connect, caste based preferences and plain family bullying. Coming from India, i think i’m slightly (if not much) better equipped to speak on the situation. You don’t want arranged marriages. Trust me, they’re a social cancer. I could go on in the detailed nuances of why they’re wrong on most fronts, but that’s a rant that’ll run too far. Maybe i’ll e-mail you if you’re ok with it. Stats, facts, esoterics and all…

      • Albert Okagbue, CPA says:

        I don’t think either of you are giving arranged marriages a fair shake. You are both mentioning the extremes. At best, people do well because there is a higher goal; at worst, women get abused because they are stuck (usually “sold”).

        As an African, I think that marriages are much better where parental input is valued. This is because the parents will be vested and can serve as counselors down the road.

  15. Melba says:

    This was actually a very sweet post, and true too. My husband and I are at about equal levels in our careers, and it’s a constant striving for balance. It seems like it would be easier with one big breadwinner (and I don;t want that to be me.) I love your last sentence, very sweet.

  16. Therese says:

    I disagree that married people are happier. The studies that show that are flawed and when you look at them closely you see that making blanket statements about marriage and happiness is a mistake: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/01/american-marriages-happiness-and-health-decline-over-time/

    I am married, and I like the idea of having a partner-in-crime and someone that’s on my side, but I think that you can have that without necessarily being married. Pressuring people to get married when they don’t want to often makes them marry unwisely. Happiness come from many things in life. My marriage alone does not make me happy. Having a well-rounded life does.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I don’t think there is one person in the whole world who will say being married makes them happy and that’s all they need. Happiness doesn’t work that way. It’s messier than that.

      The research I link to (and over the past five years I have linked to about 1000 studies on this topic) looks at what one, single thing can you do to increase your happiness levels the most. The research is not saying there is one silver bullet. There isn’t. Well, actually, there is, it’s your DNA. Most people are born with the happiness level they will have.

      But, anyway, what the research shows is that if there is just one, single thing you could do to increase your happiness levels, statistically speaking that one thing would most likely be being in a long-term, committed relationship.

      It’s fine if you want to stay single. Whatever. It just means you’ll have to work harder to get the happiness boost that other people can get by being in a long-term committed relationship.

      And, of course, I am constantly revisiting the idea that not everyone wants to be happy. Which probably explains why there are more single people living in NYC than anywhere else. And they feel fine that way.

      Here’s a good link: http://nymag.com/news/features/52450/

      Penelope

      • Pirate Jo says:

        You don’t have to be married to enjoy a long-term, committed relationship. There are couples who stay together for decades but don’t even live together. They are having their cake and eating it too.

    • LB says:

      I agree. I can count on one hand the happily married couples I know…..

  17. Glinda says:

    What you’re saying is true…

    You have to be with someone who just wants you to be happy no matter what you’re doing or where you are.

    My ex-husband couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy…after all, we were doing everything HE thought we should be doing. We ended up divorced and broke because I couldn’t get inspired by his dreams anymore. It was exhausting.

    My current boyfriend just wants me to be happy. I’m happy when I feel good about myself, so he supports my career, and my workout schedule, and eating healthy, which in turn contributes to his success too, because he wants those same things.

    We’ve each lived the “dream” in our last marriages. Now it’s time for something real, like making each other smile. The rest is just icing. When you’re old and senile, a smile is a true gift. I think that’s a better goal to have.

    • Michele says:

      I disagree that you just need someone to make you smile. My boyfriend is unemployed, has no health insurance and health issues, keeps borrowing from his retirement, and I’m sure he will get a job soon, but I don’t think he will ever have enough to retire. I am doing well with my career, will eventually reach retirement, will put my son through college, and I don’t think I want to risk it all on my boyfriend who doesn’t want/need it all. If anything, I see us as one of those couples who live separately forever. Let him see where he lands as-is. It’s different when you doubt if the guy is a bread winner or not. I think expectations are different for women, but I am a career girl so I’m set as-is.

  18. Lost says:

    Sometimes your blog posts make me sit up when I’m sad – the point about the wishes did that for me. I love “wishes” stories :)

    I grew up hearing this “who you marry is the most influential decision of your life” advice from my mom, so I agree with you. However, when giving up your career of course you have to be able to go back to it in case your marriage doesn’t work the way you expected it to.

    Also, maybe the career where the husband is the main earner is the easiest to be in, but I’m not sure it’s the most likely to work out in the long run; superstar husbands can be more prone to cheating, “trading up” and other anti-marital behavior. And I don’t think it’s a good plan to depend on so much materially on your husband.

    Also, I really appreciate your response to my other comment; I’m still working on it…

  19. Sarah says:

    Good thinking. And I love the ending.

    One criterion to seriously consider is how genuinely good, or healthfully committed to God, a person is. Because they are more likely to stay with you when all the unforeseen personal and circumstantial changes occur.

    • Lindsay says:

      I doubt there’s any correlation between religiosity and being a good spouse.

      • ryan says:

        Tough to see how religiosity can help a maraige? How about comittment, sacrament to God, through thick and thin, better and worse, all the life’s trials and tribulations that less religiously based couples are so quick to give up on in today’s attack on traditional marraiges…

      • Lauren says:

        She said “Genuinely good, or healthfully committed to God”. Two separate ways to get to the same point. I like the word “healthfully” in this – makes it a completely different concept from “religious”, in my mind. And yes, marrying someone who is “good” at their core is very important, both for what they are willing to do for you and for the regard that you have for them.

        • Michele says:

          I agree that being good and being religious aren’t the same thing. I know religious people who do bad things and non-religious people who are very good people. I know church going people who are in a cheating relationship. A lot of people who act like they are good because they go to church are actually awful people. That’s great if you think you are good and that you just happen to go to church and if that makes you feel good. If you are a good person, all the more to you.

  20. Dana says:

    Penelope, Very, very, very powerful post and I agree with you, wholeheartedly.
    Considering your title of being a career counselor you still spoke the truth (and with much profound wisdom, too) about the most important things in life, meaning a career isn’t one of them
    Why can’t there more bloggers like you?

  21. Petra says:

    Hm. I don’t entirely disagree, but even after kids and a successful career with a compliant spouse, I still think I die a little every day from lack of real romance.

    • ryan says:

      So what you’re saying is that having the successful career, the kids, aren’t enough to make you happy, since there doesn’t appear to be the critical love/romance factor. I must totally agree as I didn’t get the memo in this article stating 1. Find someone you can fall in love with just the way they are. Once you do that, every other litte–slmost superfulous criteria she sets up–simply dont matter much. Love is the beginning and the end here–not social mobility, and financial wealth. People that choose the latter as their goals I feel are doomed to quiet lives of desperation, often cheat to find that passionate love which was never a primary ingredient in the woman’s recipe. Start with love first and all else will fall into place.

      • Petra says:

        Yes, Ryan, but I also have to add that my kids are truly terrific and it makes it hard to wish my life had turned out differently. Would I trade them for a lifelong grand passion? Probably not, no. But wouldn’t it have been perfect to have grand passion AND terrific kids? Sigh. Yes.

  22. Heroine Worshiper says:

    “People who are married are happier than people who are not.”

    People who are happier & in good health are more likely to be married. Marriage is the result.

  23. Jacqueline says:

    Marriage is not the answer to happiness!

  24. RealityCheck says:

    I have to wonder about the wisdom of taking relationship advice from a woman who blogs about the violence her mate does to her and chooses to remain in the relationship. Her mate abuses her, and by abusing her in front of the children is abusing them as well. By remaining in the relationship, she is abusing her children as well.

    • Dana says:

      You’re right, perhaps it isn’t “wise” to take relationship advice from someone in her position, but how many people are that honest and that open and have that much clear self-examination about their lives and themselves AND do it in front of the whole (knowing the will be criticed, mocked) world for what I’m hoping is for the benefit of others. That should be taken into account with the advice that’s given.
      BTW, where’s your blog???

      • Jacqueline says:

        I have to agree – where are the “haters” blogs, children, husbands, significant others? it’s not OK to come over to someone elses blog and bash them – Penelope is one of the most honest, refreshing voices out here that I have seen. Why stomp out the talented voice with your negative ninny comments? We are all working out our stuff – “leave Britney alone”…At least Penelope has a voice, I don’t think she is pretending to be perfect (although she may be close to it in anyones point of view including mine;-)

    • meistergedanken says:

      Only a fool shoots the messenger. Weigh the advice based on its own merits, if you are even capable of that. It’s call judgement. You are probably one of those people who says, “I heard it on NPR – it must be true!” or “It was on FoxNews, so it must be propaganda!”. Don’t permit your biases to do the thinking for you.

  25. RK says:

    An entire post about marriage that mentions neither her first nor current husband. In fact the farmer has been conspicuously absent from this blog for several months.

  26. Jacqueline says:

    I think Penelope has several great points to make. The person you marry can either help your life be better, or help your life be worse so one better pick wisely.

    I see no reason to marry unless it benefits both parties. Fact remains, marriage benefits males more than females UNLESS one is lucky enough to find the “right” person to marry.

    Unhappiness is NO FUN if one is married or single. But, I’d rather be single and working on getting my shit together than married to a person who pulls me down instead of raising me up. I can be the most positive person in the world on my own, but I can’t carry “happy” for a life partner such as a marriage partner. Being trapped in a God promising marriage with the wrong person is heading for divorce court – that’s NO FUN at all…thank you very much!

  27. KJ says:

    Lately I’ve been obsessed with your blog, reading through random posts when I have a few minutes. Thought you or your readers might enjoy this interesting “round-up” of articles and links from Mensa. You can see a sample here: http://multibriefs.com/briefs/MENSA/MENSA041012.php and subscribe for free here: http://multibriefs.com/optin.php?mensa.

  28. sarah jane says:

    this is so true and a really important aspect that should be discussed before marriage… not that it’s a deal breaker, but it’s always good to discuss issues like this just so it’s clear where everyone is coming from. however, sometimes you don’t know these things until well into marriage. i’ve been married for 12 years and have an awesome husband, but i just recently decided i’d like a career myself. but we have two small children and have committed to me staying home with them until they’re in school. so my point is, sometimes these things are unknown beforehand. it’s best to find someone who will support you and who respects you no matter what… and who you can communicate REALLY well with! there will always be struggles in ANY marriage. finding those things i just mentioned in a spouse are keys to successfully navigating the “journey” of marriage!

  29. Stan @ Paper Shredding says:

    Go for someone with the same work ethic as you. I have many friends that have been serial daters for years and the problem was always a difference of work approach. If he works and she is lazy and does nothing, he resents her. If she works hard and he is laid back and content, there are always fights about who works harder. Find someone who you would want to work with by your side for the rest of your life. It is a partnership, choose someone that has your back.

    • Chris says:

      Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes not. Two people who are flighty and fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants is a lot of chaos. Two type-A’s work so much there’s not a lot of time for anything else. I think sometimes, the yin & yang approach works well. My husband is a workaholic because he is passionate about his job (HS principal). I am more content to play with the kids, work part-time and support his work decisions. Having one with a lot of ambition and one with a more relaxed approach has worked well for us for the last 21 years.

  30. Daniel Baskin says:

    Thanks Penelope for the reminder! I was lucky to find this person who I could love and be loved by unconditionally really early on. (@ 17 and 16!) We are 24 & 23 and almost two years married. Statistics don’t bode well for my age group, but we’ve always been weird people (both N’s).

    Thank you again for this post. The reminder helped me be thankful for what I do have despite my (other) career issues.

  31. Laura says:

    I hope you follow this up with how many children you decide to have, at what age and what type of age span. Those decisions can make or kill a career too. I’d love your perspective.

  32. Rachel says:

    That’s why I love Moulin Rouge –
    “the greatest thing of all is to love and be loved in return.” It is my first commandment. :)

  33. boo says:

    “She told me that I’m an eight so I can get an eight”

    That is hilarious. Someone actually said that to your face? I love when people act like their judgements of attractiveness are objective and not just personal taste.

  34. me says:

    Excellent (and oh so timely) post ….

    Would you be my matchmaker ? I’ll take a man who’s: smart; witty; & watches my back, no matter what.

  35. -k- says:

    You know right away not to take this post seriously when it opens with the assumption that being a former professional volleyball player made Penelope a good catch.

    “Good on paper” is an applicable concept here.

  36. Penelope Trunk says:

    This just in! Sallie Krawcheck — one of the most powerful women on Wall St. — just gave an interview to Marie Claire magazine. And here’s an excerpt, which is totally relevant to this post:

    Q: Did balancing career and family get easier once you got to the top?
    A: I have a set of rules that I always enjoy sharing with women about working in business. The first is to choose your husband carefully. With all relationships, you don’t want to gloss over the romantic part. But it’s also important to understand how your day-to-day life is going to work. If you’re caught in a meeting and walk through the door late, what you want is a spouse who says, “Can I get you a glass of wine?” versus “Where were you?” with an eye roll.

    Here’s the rest of the interview
    http://www.marieclaire.com/career-money/jobs/sallie-krawcheck-interview

    Penelope

    • Sadya says:

      Great interview aint it. The biggest difference b/w her interview and your post is this line “..a career would be the first thing I’d tell you to give up. You can get a lot more from loving and being loved.”
      Here you are asking women to give it up, she on the other hand is asking them to live it up.
      Nonetheless your post is very interesting.

  37. Jacqueline says:

    ok, ok Reality Check – listen up.

    I admit, I did not read a blog by Penelope stating that her husband beat her.

    My opinion – there is one place for a man that hits any woman – in jail. Because that is where he would be if he hit me. He would be on the curb permanently and not back in my presence.

    However, people have to work out their own issues because no one is going to be finished with a person until they are finished for any reason.

    Your ideas are not novel, it’s your attitude toward Penelope that I object to – you’re harsh and judgmental.

    Penelope shares so that others can either relate or think, not so they can judge. You want to judge, do it quietly to yourself, how is that for advice. I’m sure you will do exactly as I say Reality Check. That would be a miracle.

    • Per Holbo says:

      I agree with you…

      One of the things we need to remember also, is that abuse is not only physical, but can be mental… AND that if a woman hits a man, we tend to think of it lightly – isn´t this a mistake?

      • Can't stop watching says:

        Oh, the Farmer needs to leave her as badly as she needs to leave him.

        • Per Holbo says:

          Sorry about the delay in answering – been quite busy with other things…

          Anyway, I agree with you that it doesn´t really matter if it´s the man or the woman throwing the punches. All I´m saying is that we tend to regard a woman who hits her husband as less violent than the other way round – and to make matters even worse: a woman in a violent relationship is pitied, but a man in a violent relationship gets even more pitied and is even looked upon as a bit of a sissy, don´t you think?

    • Per Holbo says:

      Oh, almost forgot: isn´t it interesting that spanking your kids is still legal in the US (and Somalia…?)

      Look this up: http://talesofholboshire.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-spank-your-wife.html

      • Alan says:

        What are you going to do, negotiate? Children are physical; they understand physical. If we outlawed every action that could be done irresponsibly we’d have to outlaw everything.

  38. Per Holbo says:

    Brilliant post!

    One of the things puzzling me the most about modern culture is that we somehow believe that marriage is finding ‘the only one’ and between billions of people we still think it´s going to happen that way!

    Hellooo!

    I know this may sound awfully unromantic, but keeping a good marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with love (although love must be maintained in a good marriage)

    Love does NOT hold your marriage together. The promise and the willingness from both to *keep* that promise is what hold it together (maybe..)

    Been married for almost 15 years and this is my experience…

  39. Marie says:

    Investing in yourself is your biggest career and life decision.

    You can’t control whether another person will ever leave you.

    You will always be with you.

    You are your biggest and most reliable source of love, stability, support over your lifetime.

    Shift your focus from “getting” to “giving” to yourself and others.
    Shift from “Who out there can I find/get to give me what I need?” to “How can I learn how to fill myself up irregardless of outside circumstances, so I can pour with a full cup?”

    When you radiate from a fullfilled source within, you won’t need all these steps to go hunt for someone to feed you.

    People will be drawn to you.

    And you will both be happier because each of you will know how to fulfill yourself rather than trying to get the other person to do it for you.

    Share love rather than get love.

  40. redrock says:

    Maybe we should think about career, marriage, way of living, and such being part of life, and not thinking about life being part of career?

  41. Alex Kenzie says:

    “And a career would be the first thing I’d tell you to give up. You can get a lot more from loving and being loved.”

    Who are you trying to convince? Us, or yourself?

    Not trying to be unkind. I just feel that for a career woman, you really tout the family life.

  42. fred doe says:

    pre nups! pre nups written in granite! so what if a mans wife makes a better salary then he. if that’s what some one gages their manhood on, then he’s a weak sister. my wife always had a better salary then mine but my job carried the benefits. what i could never rap my head around is if you’re married once and get a divorce. then why oh why would you get married again? ( i mean no disrespect to those who do. some of my best friends have been married twice) you were home free. exit strategy? it’s like war and the stock market. everyone knows how to get in it but dam if any knows how to fold and get out.

  43. Priya says:

    Penelope, I feel like you write your blog just for me. This post really makes sense. I just wish I had had this knowledge before I married my almost-ex. He’s the kind of man that can’t keep a job to save his life, but is a smart man. No ambition, except to make a paycheck. Anything he’s done, I have pushed him to do it, and I was miserable the whole time, because I was tamping down my career growth because I thought it was the right thing to do. Well, he ended up cheating on me with someone who made him feel like a king, and has been with her for years. While I have been trying to keep our marriage/household going with two young children, one of them autistic.

    I am so much happier without him, but I definitely miss companionship and someone to share my life with. I didn’t have that even when I was married to him…

    Thanks again for another brilliant post, Penelope. you help keep me grounded.

  44. John@PGISelfDirected says:

    Thanks for the post, Penelope. Definitely another winner. (P.S. Do all girls really panic when they reach the big 3-0 and still not married?)

    • redrock says:

      No, I can assure you that not all girls panic. The thing about being married at the age of 30 is a very american deadline, much less pronounced in Europe.

  45. Jenn says:

    I agree that in marriage U must give up certain things to make this “career” work, just in any career to work so know, before you get married, to accomplish certain things before you do get married. I accomplished most things before I made the step and I’m much happier for it.

  46. Per Holbo says:

    Sorry if this is braking the debate a bit, but I don´t know how else to figure this out: how come some responses have pictures and some don´t? – or in other words: how do I get my profile photo to go with my comments? I do have a blogspot-account, so I don´t understand why it does show…?

  47. Susan says:

    My husband makes a good living, but never cared when I made double. Now that I’m a writer, I make about half of what he does, but we get to go to everything in the city for free for me to review.

    We’re both more interested in finding fun and challenging projects for ourselves than money. Money is important to us, but so is professional fulfillment.

    Somehow we balance it. I don’t care when I’m the breadwinner and when I’m not. He seems to feel the same.

  48. Jess says:

    …good looking, rich, and Jewish.

    What did you expect? That is a recipe for shallow.

  49. Monika says:

    Best advice I’ve read since my hearts a mess!

  50. Johnny De Leon says:

    I was so happy to find the perfect woman for me. I am looking to forward to my new career.

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